Life Family Support Group of Children with Cancer and Leukaemia, established in 1983, was the original parent run support group for Ward 3B – Total Care Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital. The group was a non-profit organisation and registered charity supporting children with cancer and their families. The aims were to provide support to families through ongoing education, social events including the annual Christmas picnic, newsletter and purchasing play equipment and medical equipment for the ward.
At the same time there was another group headed by a parent, The Evelyn Pilbeam Fund. This fund changed its name in 1989 to Childrens Cancer Support Group when the Oncology unit became a full member of the COG – Children’s Oncology Group in the United States. The group raised funds purely for attendance at the biannual COG meetings, a clinical research data manager support and general costs for being involved in the COG such as sending specimens and x-rays to the USA for central review.
1983 a sub-committee was formed from the Life Family Support Group to raise funds for a house to be built to accommodate families from the country who required intensive treatment for cancer therapy. This group became The House of Life Group and raised $1.5 million to build the house to accommodate 12 families. The hospital donated the land at 20 York Street, which was a hospital car park. Ronald McDonald Charities were approached to maintain and cover the day to day running costs. Since then they have renovated bathrooms in the original house and built six self-contained flats. The house is managed by “The Home Away from Home Inc” and is called The Ronald McDonald House of Life. The House of Life Group amalgamated with Ronald McDonald Charities to become “The Home Away from Home Inc.”
In 1994 the Life Family Support Group of Children with Cancer and Leukaemia and the Children’s Cancer Support Group amalgamated with a name change to KIDS CANCER SUPPORT GROUP.
Kids Cancer Support Group continues to be a parent-based volunteer non-profit organisation.